Investments made in farm policy and crop insurance benefit Americans, according to a new video released earlier this month by National Crop Insurance Services (NCIS).
The two-minute educational piece was made public as Congress worked to reverse harmful cuts to crop insurance made during last month’s Budget Agreement. If those cuts remain in place, agricultural leaders fear it would cripple private-sector delivery of crop insurance, and with it a key component of the 2014 Farm Bill.
Farm policy critics often use misinformation and misperceptions about agriculture to attack crop insurance, and NCIS produced its video to help combat those efforts.
“Instead of getting a check in the mail, farmers now get a bill,” the video explained. “And, because private insurers deliver the system and help shoulder risk, taxpayers aren’t left footing the whole bill when disaster strikes.”
Farmers spend $4 billion a year combined, to buy crop insurance protection. This stands in sharp contrast to the days of direct government payments and $70 billion in disaster bills before crop insurance’s rise to prominence, noted the video.
The piece also tackled the often-misunderstood issue of private-sector returns for delivering crop insurance. Under a 2011 agreement between the government and crop insurers, 14.5 percent was targeted as an expected gross revenue.
“But those returns aren’t guaranteed and haven’t materialized,” NCIS said in its video. “Actual gross revenue turned out to be 5.7 percent – not even half the targeted amount. When you subtract expenses, crop insurers lost 1.4 percent from 2011 to 2014.”
The cuts included in the recent congressional budget package would lower returns by another 38 percent, further compounding private-sector losses and making it extremely difficult for crop insurance providers to stay in business.
“Unless this trend is reversed and the attacks on crop insurance stop, farmers will be left without the tools necessary to manage falling commodity prices and extreme weather,” the video concluded. “Taxpayers will be left holding the bill once again. And worst of all, because every American eats, every American will be harmed.”